Soleste Lupu has been dancing for any audience she could find since she was two years old. As co-founder and co-Artistic Director for Dancing in the Streets Arizona, Soleste works with co-Director Joseph Rodgers to inspire Tucson children to experience joy, creativity and self-expression through the discipline of ballet. A native of Tucson Arizona, Soleste Lupu received her ballet training locally at the Tucson Dance Academy under the direction of Maria Morton. She received additional ballet training from Ismet Mouhedin, George Zoritch, Jose Valenzuela, Stephanie Steigers and Neil Cowey. Soleste is versed in both the Royal Academy of Dancing ballet syllabus and the Vagonava syllabus. She also has training with jazz (Luigi), operatic and musical theater, and viola (orchestral and chamber). Soleste Lupu performed with the Southern Arizona Light Opera Company (SALOC) Plain, and Fancy, South Pacific, and Oklahoma under the direction of Hal Hudley. Mrs. Lupu received her early musical training from Tucson Junior Strings, Dennis and Anna Bourret Directors. In 1981 she received a scholarship to attend NAU summer music program. Mrs. Lupu performed with the University of Arizona Music and Dance Departments performances included; chorister and dancer in Marriage of Figaro and Die Fledermaus. She also played Viola with the University of Arizona Symphony. Soleste Lupu choreographed and performed in Babes and Arms and Macbeth in Camp Humphreys, South Korea. In addition she performed with LaMond Dance Ensemble in Tacoma, WA for 2 seasons.
Soleste has an eclectic professional background that has helped her hone many skills key to running a successful non-profit. In addition to knowing how to stuff lambs wool into toe shoes and coax fly-away hair into a killer ballet bun, Soleste has worked in public policy and advocacy, run a no-kill shelter for cats, and started a family caregiver advocacy organization. She worked for five years with the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) in Washington DC where she helped to conduct research, policy analysis, technical assistance, and advocacy on issues related to economic security and family stability for low-income parents, children and youth. After spending years on the national policy aspects of helping low-income families, Soleste sees Dancing in the Streets Arizona as a tangible way to give Tucson children a chance to taste the success of creative performance.
Joseph Rodgers, a native of Tucson Arizona, began his studies at the age of 7, when he was discovered at St. Ambrose school by Maria Morton, founder of the Tucson Academy of Dancing. She offered him a full scholarship and his early training was in the Royal Academy of Dancing syllabus. George Zoritch, danseur noble, of the famed Ballet Russe, was an early architect in Joseph’s ballet career and offered his wisdom and encouragement. Joseph received a full scholarship to continue his training with the San Francisco Ballet School.
As a professional dancer for the past 25 years, Joseph has performed with many ballet companies including the Arizona Dance Theater, Ballet Arizona, Feld Ballet New York, Ballet Chicago, and Milwaukee Ballet. His last performance was in 2004 in a televised PBS performance of Der Fledermaus at the Kennedy Center with the Washington National Opera, directed by Placido Domingo.
Marian Lupu was our founding Board President. She died August 14th, 2016 at the age of 91. She was an early gerentologist and the founder of the Pima Council on Aging. She was cherished mother, advocate, community leader. This video is a short memorial to her life time achievements.